Egypt judges accuse Morsi backers of attacking independence

April 24, 2013 23:34


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CAIRO - Egyptian judges accused President Mohamed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood on Wednesday of trying to clamp down on judicial independence by conducting a campaign ostensibly aimed at rooting out corruption.

A rift between Egypt's Islamist rulers and the judiciary is steadily widening amid a broader struggle over the future character of the country following the 2011 uprising that overthrew autocratic President Hosni Mubarak.

On Tuesday, Morsi's legal adviser quit in protest at what he said were efforts by the Islamists to force out thousands of judges who they accuse of obstructing laws and elections with a series of rulings that have gone against the government.

About 10,000 judges and other legal figures met in Cairo on Wednesday, the state news agency MENA said, to discuss a proposed law lowering their retirement age.

The bill put forward by the moderate Islamist Wasat Party, an ally of the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, would impose mandatory retirement at 60 instead of 70 for all judges, forcing more than 3,000 out at a stroke.

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